Friday, November 30, 2007

born for crisis

My room looks like a tornado hit. My bed is piled high with packing boxes (no, I am not packing) and my floor space is littered with possible projects for the coming week. You'd think I'd want to start my quiet week of prayer and reflection with a neat room, an orderly place to commune with God. I am, in general, a tidy person.

But no. I go through phases of chaos and the need for disorder; and this is one of those phases.

Today I must accomplish a number of things that require me to speak. I must get a decent haircut. (I always cut my own bangs and they are always crooked.) So I shall go to the little place around the corner, where all the sisters go... and get a real hairdresser to trim my split ends and even up the fringe above my eyebrows. A last minute flurry of emails to possible celebrants will orbit cyberspace, and there is a bishop's installation I must attend this evening. My room will only get messier as the day progresses, because I am preparing for crisis... an unknown crisis.

It's ironic that this Sunday's readings will address this niggling fact of our existence... we can plan, but never really know the future. I was reminded this morning of Paul Tillich's words: that the most painful human reality is that we don't know, yet must choose. As I prepare to prepare... for the choice I have made, those thoughts will be part of what I ponder. I am sixty-one. I have possibly fifteen to twenty years left to spend here, but maybe I will be diagnosed with cancer and be dead in six months. I don't know. Only God knows. So the choices are iffy. My community may change dramatically over the next several years. Many of our sisters are already in their eighties. What am I signing on for that I haven't anticipated?

But those are not the things I worry about. I have thrived on change all my life. It is the sameness of this life that scares me. But more than that, it is my ability to go deeper into the mystery that I suspect. Chaos is where the creative spark takes shape. I have simulated chaos by emptying the closet and unpacking boxes. By the end of the week of silence I will have examined everything and rearranged all the molecules... to better suit the evolving nature of this decision.

Wish me luck. And grace.

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